“We promise” – Wakefield leaders tell children
Putting children's voices at the heart of everything we do is a promise that has now been formally agreed to by Wakefield Council and its partners across the district.
Senior leaders from the council, other public sector organisations and the voluntary sector have signed up to "Our Promise to Children and Young People", which sets out seven pledges. These will be the beacons that guide all partners to improve services to meet the needs of every child, young person and family who require them.
The promises are to:
- Make the voice of the child a central part of the way in which we design and deliver services.
- Provide opportunities for children and young people to gain skills and experience, setting them up for a successful future.
- Support children in care to be healthy, happy, safe and ambitious.
- Support all children and young people to feel safe.
- Acknowledge that emotional and physical wellbeing is an important aspect of a child or young person's quality of life.
- Become foster and adoption friendly organisations.
- To make sure we do the things that we have pledged to do in this promise.
Merran McRae, Chief Executive of Wakefield Council, said: "Our services meet the needs of the majority of children and their families. We know there is more we can do. If just one child, young person or family falls through the cracks that is one too many and so we are making a herculean effort to ensure that we can help everyone who needs support.
"This is not a lone ranger task for the Council. It requires every relevant public and third sector organisation to work in concert and harmony to ensure that every child has a happy and fulfilled childhood. I am, therefore, pleased that the Wakefield Together Executive and senior leaders from across the District have joined together to make this happen.
"We at Wakefield Council are committed to putting the voice of the child at the centre of everything we do.
"We know our Children and Young People services were found wanting last year, and we have spared no effort in rectifying the situation by hiring dedicated, senior and experienced staff to key management roles, as well as valuing the many excellent colleagues already working here. Our team are now putting in place the structures that we need to keep these our promises to our children and young people.
"We will shortly be hosting our first ever Build Our Futures Children and Young People Summit to give children a platform where they can tell us how they want us to work to give them the best future possible. Their contributions will help to shape Wakefield Council's Children & Young People's Plan.
"I encourage as many young people as possible to join us for this event, which will be on Saturday 11 May at Unity Hall.
"I also say to young people, we have made our promises and if we fall short, hold us to account."
The summit will feature a range of activities and speakers including Andy Brierley from West Yorkshire, who tells the story of how he beat the odds and turned his life around after a traumatic childhood, in his book 'Your Honour, Can I Tell You My Story'.
The event is free and lunch is provided. Places can be booked at wakefield.gov.uk/summit.
Adults and carers are also welcome to come along.
For more information on National Children's Day UK of which the summit is an activity, please visit www.nationalchildrensdayuk.com